August 31, 2009

JAMES CARROLL IS THE LAST PERSON YOU'D LOOK TO FOR MORAL CLARITY...:

Cheney Wins (James Carroll, 8/31/09, Daily Beast)

The Obama administration insists that its version of rendition will be supervised and handled legally, if not necessarily humanely. But rendition is itself the revelation: a mechanism that allows for torture means torture lives on. No matter how you cut it, this bypassing of U.S. jurisdictions, protections, and official American standards of conduct and accountability, even for the sake of urgent information, reeks of ends-justify-means moral bankruptcy. Score one for Dick Cheney—a final victory.

...but even he ought to recognize that he isn't arguing against "means-ends" but for a different "means-ends". His end is that we not torture and his means is that we even allow successful terrorist attacks instead. Mr. Cheney's is that we prevent terrorist attacks even if it requires torturing the occasional terrorist. The one gives pride of place to concerns about evil-doers' physical and mental comfort, the other elevates innocent lives above such sensibilities. Once viewed through this corrected lens it's easy to see why torture is so readily accepted in democracies.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 31, 2009 7:55 AM
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